Here is Florence, the home of rennaissance art.
Firenze has narrow medieval streets full of traffic and tourists. Note the ubiquitous West African guys selling street stuff.
In Tuscany we stay in a favorite country inn, called an "agriturismo" in Italian. It has a great pool, and a good shaded place to sit and have lunch facing a wonderful landscape.
Siena's main piazza is one of the most beautiful urban spaces that I know.
Perugia is one of my favorite cities
Orvieto is situated on an abrupt hill in a beautiful location. One of the photos of Orvieto from is taken from a favorite restaurant, "Il Girarosto del Buon Gustaio".
Verona is another beautiful river city. But its climate is even worse than Florence --very muggy. On the other hand it has a wonderful outdoor summer opera.
I love to visit small provincial cities in Europe. They have a wonderful quality of life, with less of the terrible traffic of large cities. Bassano del Grappa, near Venice, is beautiful--and you can buy some good grappa at the factory.
We have visited Italy in the summer in recent years. When it got too hot for us, we escaped to the alps. We've gone to the Bolzano region of the Dolomites several times for a few days to cool off. Its a bit Alpine and Germanic--people speak German at home but Italian is the official language--but the summer climate sure beats the hot humidity of Florence.
In the summer of 2006 we spent a week in Venice. We rented an inexpensive apartment on the Giudecca, a less touristed part of the city. Here's the building and the apartment.
Venice is unique, beautiful, stuffed and choked with tourists, but still worth visiting. Walking through Venetian streets at night, realizing that you don't hear any traffic noise, is special.
The architecture is especially beautiful.
Its interesting to see how the life of the city is accomplished by boat.
Its a shame to see the Venetian government risk their environmental future by allowing these gigantic cruise ships to traverse the canals.
We often go to concerts in wonderful places during the summer.
But my favorite place is the best coffee bar in all of Italy. I go every morning.
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